Amilo BIOS/RAM upgrade really impossible?

January 8, 2010 at 14:40:17
Specs: any OS
Apparently the specs of my Amilo M1437G put a maximum limit on memory at 2GB. Unfortunately I only discovered this after already having purchased memory chips for an upgrade to 4GB. Stupid way to go about things, I know, but there you are.

I am wondering, is the max limit just arbitrarily set in BIOS to dumb down the laptop on purpose, and is it really not possible to upgrade the BIOS to make it recognise 4 GB?

I can't believe there is any hardware limitation to make it impossible, since each of the two slots accepts a 2GB chip with no problem, and the system will come up with 2GB recognised if there is a 2GB chip in either one of the slots, but one
in each will not make it recognise the full 4GB.

The way it looks to me it's really just the BIOS that intentionally prevents perfectly functioning and available memory from being seen above the 2GB limit. I might be wrong though, and there might be some "real" physical limit with this. If so I'd appreciate if someone could explain it to me.

And if not, please tell me if a BIOS upgrade is available and where it can be downloaded.


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#1
January 8, 2010 at 16:13:59
A bios update cannot make your mboard accept and recognize larger sizes of ram modules that exceed the limitations of the main chipset and/or, if that's not the limitation, the limitations caused by the way the mboard is wired up. Sometimes, rarely, there are bugs in bios versions that limit the size of modules that a bios version recognizes that can be cured by updating the bios version, but that does not appear to apply in your case.

According to all these sources, you can install up to 1 gb of ram in each of your two slots, for a TOTAL of 2gb of ram.
(for Fujitsu Amilio M1437G)

Kingston 1gb max per slot
http://www.ec.kingston.com/ecom/con...

Crucial max 1gb per slot:
http://www.crucial.com/store/listpa...

Memory Giant max 1gb per slot:
http://www.memorygiant.com/index.cf...

When you install both 2gb modules, the bios is probably recognizing half the capacity of each module.
......

If you're using a 32 bit operating system, you can't use all of 4gb you wanted to use anyway - you end up with only a little more or a little less than 3gb being available to Windows when you install 4gb, depending on the system (if your mboard can recognize 4gb total or more).
If you were thinking more ram would make your computer noticably faster, most people won't notice much if any difference for 1gb or more of ram in XP, or 2gb or more of ram in Vista or Windows 7.


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#2
January 9, 2010 at 04:51:27
Dear Tubesandwires, Thank you very much for your reply, especially so as you seem to have done a bit of research before answering. This is much appreciated.

I also saw that thing in the specs about max 1GB per slot. But as this is demostrably untrue I am still left with a nagging feeling the 2GB limit might be equally untrue.

As I already said above, CONTRARY to the official specifications and CONTRARY to the sources you mention, it works perfectly well with 2GB memory in one of the slots (in either one of them) and it comes up with 2GB recognised. (It does, I swear!)

Doesn't this indicate that the mboard wiring would be OK for up to 4 GB ?

What you say about the chipset being limited to max 2GB might be an explanation though. Perhaps I need to dig into that side of things a little deeper.

With both memory chips installed, the laptop is just dead. Not even the BIOS starts up. So no, it is not a case of recongising half of each.

Yes, I am aware that only approx 3,4 GB are available under 32-bit OS's but this should still make a big difference compared to 2GB when there are many big apps up and running. On XP I frequently have a couple of browser windows with maybe a dozen tabs open including video contents, one or sometimes two virtual machines running under vmware, an office app or two (word, excel, powerpoint), maybe the netbeans IDE and a couple other bits and pieces. It's hard to believe a 70 per cent increase in memory from 2 to 3,4 GB would make no difference in that situation.

Incidentally I recently upped from 1GB to 2 GB on another machine and saw a DRAMATIC increase in performance and responsiveness under XP. Apparently I don't qualify as a member of that exclusive "most people" bunch you are referring to :o).

Again, thank you very much for your time. Any further input on this will be much appreciated.


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#3
January 9, 2010 at 05:43:24
Hey tubes, Happy New Year, we were wondering what happened to you.

dah

The first explanation Tubes and Wires gave you was the simplified version. There is more to the limitations of a particular memory controller. There is something called banks too and there is usually a limit on that number.

Without getting into any more detail I would say this. If you install the 4GB and the BIOS doesn't recognize all of it and there is no later BIOS that deals with that particular issue then what do you think can be done?


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Related Solutions

#4
January 9, 2010 at 08:47:02
Thanks for your reply Othehill.

You define the point exactly: "if there is no later BIOS that deals with that particular issue...".

I guess my question boils down to precisely that - whether there is such a later BIOS or not ? Or how I can find out ?


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#5
January 9, 2010 at 08:59:20
Go to the manufacturer's website. BIOSes are custom designed for each computer model. They arethe only reliable resource. Flashing a BIOS file that didn't come from them could result in owning a brick.

Why do you feeo you need more than 2GB of RAM anyway.

Laptops almost never run the CPU at full speed anyway. 2GB is more than enough to run WinXP well.

Explain your reasons.


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#6
January 9, 2010 at 09:46:07
Thanks again for replying.

As for the reasons, I imagine more memory would help with running several heavy simultaneous apps a little more smoothly even under XP. See the scenario I describe two posts back.

The comments about XP are relevant, as this is what I run most of the time, though I also run linux and I am planning to start experimenting with 64 bit sometime soon.

Another reason is that I feel a little cheated, coming up against this unexpected brick wall now, after I already purchased the memory, even though I accept that the blame is squarely my own. It peeves me and makes me want to find a way around the obstacle, just because it's there. And picking up a bit of new knowledge as a side-effect can't be wrong either.


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#7
January 9, 2010 at 09:56:00
You bought a low end laptop and you feel cheated. The way manufacturers cut costs are to eliminate items. Using a cheaper chip set reduces costs.

Download and run SIW. Post what SIW says about the motherboard. Get SIW at the link below.

http://www.gtopala.com/siw-download...


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#8
January 9, 2010 at 10:04:59
Thanks. OK I'll try that and report back.

Actually this was not a low-end laptop when I bought it in the summer of 2006, afaiu it was a fairly upmarket one in those days, and I have not felt cheated with it up to now. It's the memory upgrade I stupidly bought the other day that's bugging me.


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#9
January 9, 2010 at 10:43:13
Evidently you are not on the same wavelength as the manufacturer. They must have thought that 2GB on WinXP laptop would be more than enough.

Did you search for the manufacturer's website?

Here is a link. Evidently the unit was already getting old when you bought. The only BIOS update file is dated 2005.

http://support.ts.fujitsu.com/com/s...

The only BIOS file available if v1.06. Watch your POST screens to see which version you have. If older than v1.06 (lower number) then you may consider flashing. If you go to the flash download it will tell you what was the reason for the update. One thing mentioned was incorrect display of RAM amount.


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#10
January 9, 2010 at 10:58:51
OK then. Here is the output from SIW. ( It seems to think the limit is 4GB, but it also reports 4 slots, when only two of them are in fact physically present)
(Further down I include the output from the "memory" section. Note that this was run with the original 2x1GB memory chips installed, not the new upgrade ones I just bought).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SIW output from the "motherboard" section:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Motherboard
Property Value
Model P50EA0

North Bridge Intel i915PM/GM Revision B1
South Bridge Intel 82801FBM (ICH6-M) Revision B1

CPU Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor 2.13GHz
Cpu Socket Socket 479 mPGA

System Slots 1 PCI, 1 AGP

Memory Summary
Maximum Capacity 4096 MBytes
Maximum Memory Module Size 4096 MBytes
Memory Slots 4
Error Correction None

Warning! Accuracy of DMI data cannot be guaranteed
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SIW output from the "memory" section, which also mentions a 4GB max limit:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Memory
Property Value
CISNE (FUJITSU SIEMENS Amilo M1437 Series)
Memory Summary
Maximum Capacity 4096 MBytes
Maximum Memory Module Size 4096 MBytes
Memory Slots 4
Error Correction None
DRAM Frequency 266.7 MHz
Memory Timings 4-4-4-12 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS)
Device Locator Slot 1
Manufacturer Infineon
Part Number 64T128021HDL3.7A
Serial Number 021C3522
Capacity 1024 MBytes
Memory Type DDR2 (PC2-4300)
Speed 266 MHz (DDR2 533)
Supported Frequencies 200.0 MHz, 266.7 MHz, 266.7 MHz
Memory Timings 3-3-3-9-12 at 200.0 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Memory Timings 4-4-4-12-16 at 266.7 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Memory Timings 5-4-4-12-16 at 266.7 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Data Width 64 bits
Manufacturing Date 2005, Week 42
EPP SPD Support No
XMP SPD Support No
Device Locator Slot 2
Manufacturer Infineon
Part Number 64T128021HDL3.7A
Serial Number 021C3922
Capacity 1024 MBytes
Memory Type DDR2 (PC2-4300)
Speed 266 MHz (DDR2 533)
Supported Frequencies 200.0 MHz, 266.7 MHz, 266.7 MHz
Memory Timings 3-3-3-9-12 at 200.0 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Memory Timings 4-4-4-12-16 at 266.7 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Memory Timings 5-4-4-12-16 at 266.7 MHz, at 1.8 volts (CL-RCD-RP-RAS-RC)
Data Width 64 bits
Manufacturing Date 2005, Week 42
EPP SPD Support No
XMP SPD Support No

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#11
January 9, 2010 at 11:12:38
Go to the link below and take note of the section on the amount of RAM supported by the chip set.

That chip set could be used on a board with 2 or 4 slots and still only support 2GB.

http://www.intel.com/Products/Noteb...


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#12
January 9, 2010 at 11:27:25
Thanks for the link and BIOS information. Yes, I guess the manufacturer's thinking patterns, at the time of manufacture at least, were badly out of sync with my current intentions :o).

Actually, when I follow the link you give there I can see a later BIOS, Version 1.10C dated 19.10.2005 (oct 19 2005). But this is the version I already have in the system so no luck there.

The BIOS also fails to see the newly installed 500GB HD. Going into "IDE Configuration" -> "Primary IDE Master" in BIOS it only shows the CD/DVD drive. However, the HD is visible and works well in XP and LInux alike so I don't mind about it not showing up in BIOS. Still it's a little strange.

I guess this is the end of the road then, with no newer BIOS available and I'll just have to accept that there's no way around this.

EDIT: OK, I just saw your comment about the chipset after writing this. That seems to be the final word. Forget the rest I wrote.

Thank you very much.


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#13
January 9, 2010 at 12:04:18
Doesn't matter. Intel made the chip set and it only supports 2GB of RAM. There is no changing that with a BIOS update.

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#14
January 10, 2010 at 19:29:01
OtheHill

My back was acting up on me about two months ago. I stopped answering questions at that point because the last thing I should be doing when my back acts up is to sit for long periods of time, otherwise it takes a lot longer to heal. It two weeks or so for my back to get to the state it is usually in - fragile but manageble, and I haven't gotten back into the habit of answering regularly since.
The other day I got an email indicating I had a PM (the first one since I stopped) about an older Topic someone had read, and I chose to answer that, and while I was at it I answered a few Hardware questions.
I've got to catch up on some things I've been putting off doing, so it may be a while before I start answering regularly again, if I ever do. .


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#15
January 11, 2010 at 03:12:32
OK then tubes. Hope you feel better.

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